Beecher inserted himself into nearly every important drama of the eraâamong them the antislavery and womenâs suffrage movements, the rise of the entertainment industry and tabloid press, and controversies ranging from Darwinian evolution to presidential politics. He was notorious for his irreverent humor and melodramatic gestures, such as auctioning slaves to freedom in his pulpit and shipping riflesânicknamed âBeecherâs Biblesââto the antislavery resistance fighters in Kansas. Thinkers such as Emerson, Thoreau, Whitman, and Twain befriendedâand sometimes parodiedâhim.
And then it all fell apart. In 1872 Beecher was accused by feminist firebrand Victoria Woodhull of adultery with one of his most pious parishioners. Suddenly the âGospel of Loveâ seemed to rationalize a life of lust. The cuckolded husband brought charges of âcriminal conversationâ in a salacious trial that became the most widely covered event of the century, garnering more newspaper headlines than the entire Civil War. Beecher survived, but his reputation and his causesâfrom womenâs rights to progressive evangelicalismâsuffered devastating setbacks that echo to this day.
Featuring the page-turning suspense of a novel and dramatic new historical evidence, Debby Applegate has written the definitive biography of this captivating, mercurial, and sometimes infuriating figure. In our own time, when religion and politics are again colliding and adultery in high places still commands headlines, Beecherâs story sheds new light on the culture and conflicts of contemporary America.
About: Presents the life of the nineteenth century orator, noted for his support of the abolition of slavery and the suffrage of women, as well as his friendships with some of the century's most famous writers such as Henry Thoreau, Mark Twain, and Walt Whitman.
About: Presents the life of the nineteenth century orator, noted for his support of the abolition of slavery and the suffrage of women, as well as his friendships with some of the century's most famous writers, including Henry Thoreau, Mark Twain, and Walt Whitman.
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